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post #1 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Where I was last time:

I have sucessfully used a Hipix card with an
HP DVD100i drive, a DVD+RW writer. I recorded
full HDTV to the drive by two methods. First
was to record to hard disk first, then move
the file to DVD and play it directly from the
DVD. Second method is to set the hipix to record
and play back directly from the drive, possible
because the HP drive has 2.4x writing speed.

Both worked flawlessly as far I could see.

Where I want to go:

Right now, I calculate 39 minutes of full
resolution HDTV (20mpbs) is possible on a
standard single layer DVD+RW. Thats not useless,
but the "holy grail" is to get the stored
hipix streams out of mpeg-2 and into mpeg-4
format, both so I can see the net compression
and quality, and so that I can store on the
DVD. Using mpeg-4, it should be possible to
record 2 hours of HDTV on a single DVD+RW.
I am already convinced that when I get this all
together, this will be my HDTV storage solution
for the big theatre in the living room.

Where I am now:

Was struggling to get the transport stream from
the hipix card demultiplexed. First trials with
recommended tool, xmuxer, did not work. Turned
out the tool has known install problems, so
was able to work it out. Also found a second
demultiplex solution, bbdmux off doom9 site.
I don't know why everyone is wild about the
xmux tool, its hard to set up. I like the bbdmux
tool, and it gives a neat printout of the
transport components.

Two days ago I knew nothing about transport
formats and all of this crud. It feels like
a stack of encylopedias fell on me. Anyways,
I now have two different working demultiplex
solutions.

After demultiplexing to mpeg-2 files, I found
(what everyone of course found), the file plays
in windows media player, but........vvvveeeeerrryy
yyyyy ssssslllllloooooowwwwwwllllyyyyy.......

Theres a big difference between playing a small
clip and a full resolution HDTV image.

Next:

Looking for players that move faster, or hardware
players. I have a hollywood plus sitting in the
closet gathering dust, and there are probally
other mpeg hardware solutions.
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post #2 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 06:33 AM
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Just curious. . . has anyone tried changing the Mpeg 2 files they created with there hi-pix using programs that are currently available to change them to VOB files? Maybe if you changed them to VOB files whatever DVD player you have on your pc would be able to handle the change better?

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post #3 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Lets see, more notes:

The files from the hipix transport stream may
not be orthidox mpeg files. Most players play
them, but realplayer and mpg2avi don't seem to
like them.

I was able to get "near acceptable" playback
of a full hdtv image by turning the resolution
of my graphics card way, way up, beyond 1920x1080.
That makes sense, because the scaling algorithim
is not working so hard. There does not seem
to be a way, using the "usual suspect" players
like windows media and elecard to directly fix
the output to the exact resolution, ie, 1920x1080,
which would be the minimum effort for the player.

"near acceptable" is moving somewhat smoothly
but looking like about 1/2 the rate needed for
true smooth playback. So thats good, a 1ghz
AMD CPU can get a *massive* HDTV playback to
almost acceptable playback (no sound). Isn't
it a coincidence that now, with DVD recorders
available, we are just at the threshold of
having the kind of CPU power needed to do this ?

I scratch what I said about pulling the hollywood
plus card out of storage. It does mpeg-2 at
realtime, but so does the hipix, it just does
it in a different format (transport). When
mpeg-4 is used, we are on our own, software is
the only solution. So Intel and AMD would
probally be delighted to know there are people
out there working hard to create a demand for
even faster processors :D

So have played out mpeg-2 1920x1080 using software
playback. There are two ways to go now. First,
mpeg-4 could actually speed up playback even
though it is a more complex format to playback
(bear with me). The reason being is it takes less
bytes to represent, so reading it goes faster.
That would certainly help a hardware decoder.
If it helps a software one depends on complex
variables like data bound vs. compute bound
processing, etc.

Second thing, as Tom has said, 1920x1080 is a
*HUGE* and fairly unecessary format right now.
I can't even play that on the big theatre,
my sony projector is some 1300x768 pixels. A
lot of folks would deem the 1280x720 format
to be "HDTV", and that might both make playback
on my (apparently too slow) 1ghz computer
acceptable, as well as increase the net playing
capacity of an HD-DVD.

So, I have been playing with both the mpeg-2
to mpeg-4 convertion as well as rescaling the
resolution to 1280x720. Not successful yet, but
it occurred to me that the problem will solve
itself tonight at primetime, when ABC will
broadcast a perfectly acceptable 720 line
HDTV picture

By the way, while we are on the subject, I hope
nobody minds me terming the result of this
an "HD-DVD". I have allways used that term to
refer to the future HDTV DVD format, as have
others. Frankly, if that goal gets acheived by
software only, then the result (IMHO) is no
less deserving of the term HD-DVD than a system
with "blue light" in its name. Divx might mean
"lower than DVD quality" but what I am
doing/seeing here is full quality HDTV.
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post #4 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by chap
Just curious. . . has anyone tried changing the Mpeg 2 files they created with there hi-pix using programs that are currently available to change them to VOB files? Maybe if you changed them to VOB files whatever DVD player you have on your pc would be able to handle the change better?
Thats a good question, and heres my take on it.
A VOB is a "transport" file, that is, its a
means to unite multiple components into a single
file. So the VOB is the way to format things
if your destination is a DVD.

If you define uniting audio and video as a
transport, then .avi, .vob, .ts and even .mpg
are transport files, because they can all do
that.

Right now, I am just trying to get any format
that works onto a DVD. .vob and DVD structure
is about 720x480 as a resolution limit, so I
think that DVD player software/hardware is
probally going to be suprised to find an
HDTV .vob file even if the format permits it.

Personally, I would like to see if I can format
a HD-DVD "like" a regular DVD, that is, full
dvd format with menus, etc, but with full HDTV
resolution. Finding that perfect "next generation"
format, and I think you have probally found
the format the DVD forum guys are bound to use
when they finally drag to the end of their
standards process.

For the final answer to your question, its
probally in HTPC forum somewhere. I hope I haven't
appeared to pass myself off as an expert here,
I'm not. All of what I am doing, taking Hipix
down to mpeg-4 and more has been done by
people in the HTPC forum. I'm just trying to
reproduce what they did and get it to play off
a recorded DVD.
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post #5 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 12:26 PM
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I took a one minute file from gladiator, and used xmuxer with no real problem to create the m2v file, playback was not really watchable on my Athlon XP 1800+ but I wasn't expecting it to be. I tried to use bbmpeg to turn the m2v into a vob file, but it kept giving me an error about not being able to write to the file.

One interesting thing to note is that the original hi-pix file was about 140 megs before xmuser, and the resulting file afterwards was 80 megs. Thats without sound, but sound realy doesn't take up that much space. A 2 hour movie with a 5.1 ac3 track is usually about 300 megs.

After tehy are converted to m2v files if that ratio keeps up it seems like it would be close to possible to havea 2 hour movie fit on a dual sided dvd. . . . almost but not quite. A 90 minute movie would be no problem at all.

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post #6 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 12:39 PM
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Surely the answer is to store movies at 720p, 24 frames/second, with lights lowered to reduce flicker. After all, that's what we see at the cinema. This would reduce the amount of storage required by a factor of 2.5:1 without compression.

Or, you could upscale to a 60Hz refresh rate for display.
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post #7 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 01:22 PM
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The MPEG2 inside of HiPix files is standard
MPEG2 but it won't play on many DVD players
because:

1> It is wrapped in ATSC packets and only a
couple of players know how to interpret them.
2> It is 1920x1080 which is larger than many
DVD players expect to see.

So - even if you use a program like bbdmux2
to extract the MPEG2 out of HiPix files it
still won't play on many players because
the datarate and image dimentions are too high.
Some "filters" are hard-coded to expect
DVD resolutions only.

The two software players that can read 1080i
HDTV streams and which can play them in realtime
(Only on top of the line machines with the
latest CPUs and fastest VGA cards) are
Elecard HDTV player
and
Cineplayer DTV.

The Elecard player is still in beta so it isn't
bug free and isn't well supported yet.

The Cineplayer DTV product has only been shipping
outside of the USA in bundles with a HDTV
receiver card.

----

Also any attempt to reduce the resolution or
to switch to MPEG-4 will require decoding
the video and then re-encoding again which
will reduce picture quality and introduce
artifacts.

Personally I think the "Holy Grail" is to
leave the files as is, and expect to find
cheap/large media such that they file sizes
aren't much of an issue. MPEG2 is pretty
effective compression already.
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post #8 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by PVR
Personally I think the "Holy Grail" is to
leave the files as is, and expect to find
cheap/large media such that they file sizes
aren't much of an issue. MPEG2 is pretty
effective compression already.
Speaking of which how far along is Constellation 3D in terms of getting a working FMD recorder on the market?

HDTV Early Adopter
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post #9 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by chap


One interesting thing to note is that the original hi-pix file was about 140 megs before xmuser, and the resulting file afterwards was 80 megs. Thats without sound, but sound realy doesn't take up that much space. A 2 hour movie with a 5.1 ac3 track is usually about 300 megs.
Ive been getting drops like that, but I assumed
it to be the fact that I left a SDTV channel
of video and the sound behind (the PBS demo).
Did you try bbdmux in the info mode to see if
you might be hiding extra channels in there ?
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post #10 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by PVR
The MPEG2 inside of HiPix files is standard
MPEG2 but it won't play on many DVD players
because:

1> It is wrapped in ATSC packets and only a
couple of players know how to interpret them.
2> It is 1920x1080 which is larger than many
DVD players expect to see.

...

Also any attempt to reduce the resolution or
to switch to MPEG-4 will require decoding
the video and then re-encoding again which
will reduce picture quality and introduce
artifacts.

Personally I think the "Holy Grail" is to
leave the files as is, and expect to find
cheap/large media such that they file sizes
aren't much of an issue. MPEG2 is pretty
effective compression already.
Thanks for that explanation, that is probally
also hampering my efforts to get it transcoded
or reduced in size.

For the second point, of course you are correct.
The existance of DVD recording is going to make
the neat hobby of divx to CD die out for all but
the cheapest people on the planet, so it figgures
that if blue light whatever were rampant, we
would not be having this conversation.

In the meantime, mpeg-4 DVDs, even with the
reencode rolloff, may florish just because its
the only game in town. And note that if real
movies take off via the "microsoft plan", then
that concern will go away.
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post #11 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by PVR
The MPEG2 inside of HiPix files is standard
MPEG2 but it won't play on many DVD players
because:

1> It is wrapped in ATSC packets and only a
couple of players know how to interpret them.

Errr, I shoulda looked at that longer. The ATSC
packets are the transport format, correct ?
Isn't that what we are striping off with xmux
bbdmux ?
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post #12 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 03:44 PM
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Another reason that DVD players won't play a TS converted to a VOB (which I believe is actually a program stream rather than a transport stream) is the HDTV is MP@HL rather than MP@ML MPEG-2.

But I'm all for using MPEG-4 to keep the high res but compress more.
By the way, for those files where they broadcast isn't using the full bandwidth (like Gladiator only using 8/14ths) you can zip them (the rest of the info other than the sound is null packets generally) You can check this out with bbdmux. (It lists all the streams and you'll note the NULL PID takes a lot of space). So zipping or using NTFS compression will get rid of most of the space being taken up by the NULL packets. But in the case when the broadcaster is broadcasting two streams like 720P and 480P (ABC) you won't see much compression.
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post #13 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 05:02 PM
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I don't understand the MP@HL and MP@ML stuff, but I don't see why a software based dvd player if I convert the ts files to mp2 using a demuxer, and then convert that to a vob except for the fact that the dvd player may be looking for a specific resolution.

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post #14 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, I have run a solution to get all the
way to mpeg-4. Its very rough, but it works.

From the hipix, a single one minute file was
used as input.

1. use bbdmux on file:

bbdmux ch9-2k~1.000 0x21 test.m2v

Means: take stream by PID 0x21 out of the hipix
bundle and deposit that in test.m2v. Still not
sure what the difference between the unbundled
mpeg stream and an "orthdox" .mpg file, but this
mpeg-2 will play on most players, and fails on
a few.

2. Use dvd2avi, and run 2 pass divx compression
with the rate set to 5000 kbps or 5 megabits.
This gives you an .avi file, and thats the final
compression to mpeg-4.

3. Play, I recommend "the playa" because it forces
the playback to occur at its natural resolution,
and I think helps the speed.

Flaskmpeg does NOT work on the .m2v file. I tried
a 1920x1080 (the KQED demo) file, compressing
that raw caused the dvd2avi program to crash
every time I tried it. Then I used the clipping
feature to cut it down as far as it would let
me, about 1400x800, and that worked.
The m2v file for one minute was 100megabytes,
and the .avi was 37 megabytes. Considering the
clip, it should have been more (smaller), I'm
going to have to research that.

Even cut down to 1400x800 (close to the 1280x720
HDTV format), it still had smoothness problems
on my 1ghz machine, so more power is needed.
However, 37 meg is about 2 hours on a DVD, and
the quality was excellent, I noticed no degradation or artifacts that weren't there in
the original hipix file.

Obviously there is a lot more to do. I wanted to
try it out on a native 1280x720 OTA receiption,
but ABC seems to have lost their transmitter
tonight (bay area). I need a solution that will
scale down 1080 material to 720 so I can record
everything. Also, I want to try concatenating
the 1 minute hipix files into a single file,
that "1 minute file" thing is really annoying
for whole movies/shows. I also need to
get sound into the .avi as well.
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post #15 of 20 Old 12-21-2001, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by foundation
But in the case when the broadcaster is broadcasting two streams like 720P and 480P (ABC) you won't see much compression.

I've written a tool that lets you erase the unwanted programs (e.g., the 480p program) so that the resulting stream will compress better.

http://www-personal.engin.umich.edu/~balazer/epid/
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post #16 of 20 Old 12-22-2001, 02:46 AM
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Converting video is old news. Has anyone been able to get the sound to sync after downsizing an HDTV stream?

Joe
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post #17 of 20 Old 12-22-2001, 04:16 AM
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Joe, since I haven't tried any of what you guys are talking about yet myself, I can't be sure, but is the synch problem your describing where it plays fine at first, but slowly it loses synch till by the end of the movie its several seconds off?

If so then thats been documented in how to fix when ripping dvd's to divx. I don't remember the programs anymore or the exact documentation I read on how to do it, but I think I found it at www.vcdhelp.com, or www.doom9.org. There is a program that will re-synch it back, but its not as easy a task as most would probably like. I ripped a dvd to Divx once, and realized how much of a pain in the ass the whole process was and don't see why people would bother, but this could be worth it. We'll c.

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post #18 of 20 Old 12-22-2001, 04:25 AM
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Chap,

As far as I know, no one has reported success downrezing a HIPIX movie while maintaining audio sync. DVDs have been done successfully.

Joe
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post #19 of 20 Old 12-22-2001, 10:20 PM
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I wrote this earlier this morning but some database error stopped it from being posted. It may be out of context by now but it doesn't look like there are intervening posts. Anyway...

With my WinTV-HD card I have down rezzed a couple movies without progressive sync problems.

I do have to put the sound on later but it appears to be the correct length. I just have to adjust the starting offset in VirtualDub, using one of the versions that accepts ac3.

This brings up another issue. I have found less sound problems if I don't try to convert the sound to mp3. It takes a bunch more space but compared to the much larger bit rates I want for HDTV anyway it doesn't mean a lot. So I keep the ac3 sound.

I've been using Xmuxer, sometimes successfully. But for those using bbdmux, you should probably do a search of the HTPC forum for bbdmux2. This is modified to skip records before the first group of pictures, or something like that. That is maybe needed by some players though it might create a problem if you later tried to concat HiPix segments.

As far as the whole process being a PITA, that is certainly still true. But if we ever come up with a good manual procedure that works well then it can be automated by modifications to some common tools. For instance I've considered adding bbdmux2 funcions to DVD2AVI so that multiple concatenated HiPix files could be processed without first demuxing.

- Tom

Why don't we power our electric cars from greener, cheaper Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors?

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post #20 of 20 Old 12-23-2001, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jamoka
Chap,

As far as I know, no one has reported success downrezing a HIPIX movie while maintaining audio sync. DVDs have been done successfully.

Joe
I am going to have to get around to trying all of this myself, because if it is experiencing the same synch issues that you have when converting a dvd to divx then it is fixable. Maybe I'll get around to it sometime next week. We'll c.

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